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> Posted by Adriana Magdas
How do you determine if a person’s life is worth living in freedom, independently and with the opportunity for education and a career?
The answer is: You don’t, because every life is worth living and all human beings have the right to be free, happy and a valuable part of society.
This belief was reaffirmed when I watched “Lives Worth Living,” a documentary released in 2011, which traces the development of the Disability Rights Movement in the United States from the 1950s until its culmination with the signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) have always been a large minority in the United States, but as a group, they were largely marginalized with little to no access to schools, public transportation, public buildings, and more. They were second-class citizens who were deprived of their rights in countless ways. This documentary vividly depicts the Disability Rights Movement in the United States and the commitment and determination of the pioneers who worked together tirelessly to win a battle that culminated in the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. This momentous piece of legislation prohibits discrimination based on disability, and is very much in the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, etc. illegal. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Adriana Magdas
Why is educational inclusion for children with disabilities so essential to financial inclusion?
The answer to that question came to me one day while I was browsing the BBC News. A headline caught my attention: “Disabled Children Excluded from Education.” That article and a bit more research revealed statistics on the extent of the exclusion from education faced by children with disabilities. Among the facts I learned:
- according to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children Report,” approximately 150 million children around the world have a disability; and,
- the UNESCO “Education for All Global Monitoring Report” claims that more than one-third of out-of-school children have a disability, and in Africa, fewer than 10 percent of disabled children are in school.
The statistics I gathered show that children with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from education, a human right that enables them to be more competitive and access a wider range of future income-generating opportunities. Since over 80 percent of the 785 million people with disabilities worldwide live in developing countries (Enable/United Nations), it’s obvious that most of these children with disabilities will face many hardships and obstacles to earning a decent income when they mature.
So to return to the question, why, indeed, is educational inclusion for children with disabilities key to financial inclusion? Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Danielle Donza
I recently cried my way through the book Eleven Seconds, the true life story of Travis Roy, a Boston University hockey player who becomes paralyzed within eleven seconds of his first college hockey game. As a Vermonter and a hockey player, the book hit close to home in many ways, but more than anything it made me truly appreciate the importance of the Center’s Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) program, which promotes equal and fair access to quality financial products and services for persons with disabilities.
I knew not to expect a happy ending but was surprised to find myself feeling that the saddest part of Travis’s story is not his tragic accident but rather the difficulty he faces in trying to reintegrate into society as a person with a disability, especially since the latter seems preventable. Beyond the obvious mobility and independence issues, Travis struggles more with the fact that he is simply ignored in his wheelchair. Once the “big man on campus” as a scholarship hockey star, when he returns to school, no one even acknowledges him. It almost seems easier for Travis to overcome his physical limitations than his societal ones. Even when Travis gains celebrity-like status because of his accident, he still feels invisible. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Center Staff
We’re excited that the Smart Campaign’s decision to enshrine non-discrimination in its core principles has received mention in the most recent newsletter of the Microfinance for All Alliance. In it, the alliance’s Coordinator, Grégory Doucet, writes:
The most positive estimates now confirm that less than 0.5% of people with disabilities are clients of MFIs. But, more than 650 million people are disabled, now representing 12% of the world population.
By prohibiting all discrimination against people with disabilities and more generally against disadvantaged populations, Smart Campaign has made great progress in the protecting the rights of marginalised populations. Eliminating any ambiguity, this new rule provides that “the selection and processing of applications shall not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, disability, religion or sexual orientation.” Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Adriana Magdas
In celebration of its 3rd anniversary, the Center for Financial Inclusion is organizing an after-hours event at its Washington, DC office. Guests can view a photo exhibit demonstrating disability inclusion in countries around the world, discuss disability inclusion in financial services, network, and enjoy wine and cheese.
Speaking at the event will be the Center’s Managing Director, Elisabeth Rhyne, joined by Joshua Goldstein, Principal Director for Economic Citizenship and Disability Inclusion, and Rosita Najmi, who is the Program Manager for the Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities Program and for Financial Access at Birth (FAB). Together they will discuss the existing landscape of disability inclusion in financial services around the world, introduce a road map for action by financial services providers, and invite guests to join in the efforts by discussing the path to disability inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Andrea Shettle, Program Manager, Global Disability Rights Library
Achieving financial independence is challenging enough for most of the world’s poorest citizens. When you also face persistent dehumanization from your neighbors and even your own family, escaping poverty becomes even harder. Men and, particularly, women with disabilities in many developing countries confront this challenge daily.
As an example, women with disabilities tell us they want to be included in microfinance programs so that they, too, can work hard, build a business, and support their families. But banks and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often refuse to include them in microcredit projects. Bankers assume they are begging and turn them away without listening to their proposals. NGOs say that disability is “not their priority” and fail to recognize that people with disabilities need the same services that their other clients need, too. Meanwhile, even relatives may fail to recognize the personhood of a woman with disabilities and may exclude her from conversation and family activities. Neighbors may speak of them by referring to their disability rather than their name. For example, they may speak of “the cripple,” and not “my neighbor, María.” Can access to knowledge change this trend of dehumanization and financial exclusion for both women and men with disabilities?
The Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) team believes that the answer is “yes.” The GDRL project is a joint initiative of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) where I work and our partner organization, the WiderNet project at the University of Iowa, with funding support from USAID. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by JD Bergeron, Kiva Sr. Director of Social Performance and Alyssa McGarry, Kiva Community Outreach Team
Kiva prides itself on its ability to provide financial services to low-income individuals and those who do not have access to typical banking services. We strive to impact the most vulnerable, and our model allows us to focus attention on groups and individuals that might not be served otherwise. One group that are typically among the most marginalized are people with disabilities. Kiva acknowledges that people with disabilities exist in all cultures of the world and we are proud that our community is taking strides to better support them.
The Kiva community recognizes that disabilities need not limit one’s desire or ability to hold a job, impact the community, or become financially independent. Kiva and our Field Partners support entrepreneurial spirit. We embrace a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.
Kiva Lending Teams Focused on Disabilities
Kiva’s community has already formed a number of Lending Teams that give loans primarily to people with disabilities and their families. The largest is KivaFriends – Disabled Persons . This group has 100 members and has lent a combined $29,700, with an impressive 11.7 loans on average per member. KivaFriends – Disabled Persons is a community of people interested in making a difference for entrepreneurs and families who are affected by illness or physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disability. They also support caregivers and entrepreneurs involved in the medical profession. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Rosita Najmi, Program Manager, Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities
“Hire Me?” was the question one graduate of Gallaudet University chose as an adornment on the top of her graduation cap. Last week, as the disability and human rights communities, and all of us who care about inclusion, celebrated the 100th ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) I had the pleasure of celebrating the academic and personal achievements of an intern with whom I have been working since February. I joined proud parents, siblings, and professors at Gallaudet University’s 142nd Commencement. Since then, I’ve been considering how the bold question of that one graduate fits the context of financial inclusion.
In a previous blog post about the Center’s program Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities, we found a series of questions. One was directed at the Human Resources Department of financial service providers: “Are there any qualified persons with disabilities in your community you could consider for employment, an internship, or a volunteer opportunity?” In this post, we ask, “If you had two candidates who equally met your checklist of eligibility criteria, and one of them had a disability, how would you decide? To whom would you say yes?” Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Rosita Najmi
The Center’s program on Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities is honored to host a photo exhibit, “USAID and Inclusive Development: Mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals: Toward 2015 and Beyond.” The exhibit was originally commissioned for the 2010 observance of UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), which is an annual observance established by the United Nations in 1981, with a purpose, among others, of promoting a greater understanding of disability issues.
The exhibit includes photographs (17) demonstrating disability inclusion in Cambodia, Ecuador, Kenya, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and Zambia. The display also highlights case studies (11) from Albania, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Center Staff
On April 29, 11 leaders of the disability community sent a letter to the Smart Campaign applauding the new non-discrimination clause in the Campaign’s evolving Client Protection Principles (CPP).
Principle 4 of the proposed revised CPPs states: “Client selection and treatment should not involve discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, disability, religion or orientation. Non-discriminatory treatment is important for providing access to financial services to all clients who can use them and builds their confidence in the fairness of the provider.”
The Smart Campaign is grateful for the recognition embodied in the letter below, and salutes these leaders for keeping these issues in the forefront of this and other international campaigns.
Dear Smart Campaign Steering Committee,
On behalf of the international disability community, we are writing today to applaud your decision to enshrine non-discrimination as core commitment in your very impressive Client Protection Principles. Read the rest of this entry »